Video of eagle stealing child was fake

MONTREAL — Relax, world — your baby won’t get snatched by an eagle if you visit Montreal.

MONTREAL — Relax, world — your baby won’t get snatched by an eagle if you visit Montreal.

An online video of the massive bird plucking an infant off the ground was acknowledged by its creators as a fake Wednesday.

The admission came as the video was viewed millions of times on YouTube in the span of several hours and was the subject of news reports by dozens of media around the globe.

It was actually produced by students as a class project at a new-media training institute in Montreal.

Their assignment: create a viral video and a hoax.

They needn’t worry about their mark now. They were promised a 100 per cent score if they received 100,000 page views — and within a few hours, sometime after lunch Wednesday, they had smashed that target 50 times over.

“We had no idea what was coming,” said a giddy Normand Archambault, who created the video along with fellow students Loic Mireault and Felix Marquis-Poulin.

“We were all speechless.”

The video was picked up by newspapers in the U.K., was tweeted by at least one member of the White House press corps in Washington, and it moved on the international news wires through Agence France Presse as well as in numerous international publications.

A Mexican news anchor tweeted it. Russian television aired it, much to Archambault’s astonishment.

“Wow, I didn’t know that,” he said when he was informed by a reporter during one of a slew of interviews.

Claude Arsenault, a spokesman for the Centre NAD where the trio studies, said the video was done as part of a project in 3D animation and digital design. Both the eagle and the toddler were created in 3D animation and integrated into the film afterward, he said.

The idea of an eagle snatching a baby came up after a brainstorming session.

The group had surveyed YouTube to see what people were watching.

“Babies and animals are very popular,” Archambault, 22, said in an interview. So students combined the two. The group thought “if that works, everyone is going to want to watch it.”

An online debate raged about whether or not the video was real, with many people weighing in that it was fake. In the meantime, media picked up the story.

Some treated it seriously. Others warned it could be a stunt.

The Agence France Presse news service noted the proliferation of weird stories emerging lately from Canada.

“A YouTube video of a golden eagle swooping down and lifting a toddler off the ground in Montreal could soar to Internet stardom as the latest episode of animals behaving strangely in Canada,” the report began.

“(It comes) just a week after a monkey wearing a sheepskin coat was found wandering around an IKEA parking lot in Toronto.”

Comedy writers joked about Canada’s animal follies.

Even the bass player for the American band Blink 182, Mark Hoppus, got in on the fun: “Eagle Baby and Ikea Monkey in a buddy cop movie. Cast Balloon Boy as the chief of police. Done. Please wire me my royalties. Thanks.”

Scottish actor Greg Hemphill tweeted: “Wean eating eagles in Montreal, Fur coated Monkeys in Toronto Ikea. The Mayans were right but they were only talking about Canada.”

It’s not the first time a hoax from that school has gotten attention.

An earlier effort showed a penguin escaping from the Montreal Biodome. Although that earlier video of the Antarctic animal waddling down Sherbrooke Street, outside the Olympic Stadium, only got a fraction of the attention generated by the toddler-snatching eagle.

It was also the second time in a week that media and the public had been drawn in by a hoax involving animals in Montreal.

A fake CBC Radio interview where a phoney Montreal city councillor proposed a bylaw requiring dogs in public spaces to be bilingual also caused a tempest before it was denied by the public broadcaster.

In the meantime, the Montreal eagle has shown up with his own Twitter account, saying he grabbed the child because he thought it was a Hobbit.

Samantha L.G. was a little startled when she saw the eagle video.

“Holy crap we have those in Montreal?!” she tweeted.

Some locals were puzzled not only by the sight of an eagle hunting in their city, but of a family playing on the grass in a park.

The video was posted Tuesday. Montreal has been covered in snow for days.

Still, it had lots of people — and some famous media organizations — fooled.

And the students couldn’t be happier.

Archambault said of the reaction: “It’s like saying, ’Good job.’ You do 3D, CGI that people could believe it, so it was mission accomplished.”

Just Posted

Man and dog dead after early morning house fire in Lethbridge

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — Officials say a man and a dog are dead… Continue reading

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

OTTAWA — The federal government is fighting a proposed class-action lawsuit against… Continue reading

May says Greens will work with any party that has a serious plan for the climate

OTTAWA — With three months until Canadians vote in the next federal… Continue reading

Joe Hittel rappels down 12 storey building in Red Deer – again

Eighty four year old Red Deerian was not afraid to rappel down… Continue reading

Indigenous nation in Washington State seeks meeting with feds on Trans Mountain

VANCOUVER — The Lummi Nation in northwest Washington state is requesting a… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Hotels face battle over whether to help US house migrants

DETROIT — There’s a new target in the clash over immigration: hotels.… Continue reading

Thousands visit Illinois governor mansion after renovations

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Thousands of people have visited the Illinois governor’s mansion… Continue reading

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

VANCOUVER — High school students in Canada may not be getting the… Continue reading

‘Us and them’: influence of Quebec anglos on decline with new Coalition government

MONTREAL — Last March, Quebec Premier Francois Legault made a mocking remark… Continue reading

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

VANCOUVER — Japanese Canadians across the country are meeting to discuss how… Continue reading

Off Canada’s East Coast, a hunt to detect ‘beautiful’ great white sharks

HALIFAX — The great white sharks move torpedo-like through East Coast waters,… Continue reading

ESPN reasserts political talk policy after attack on Trump

NEW YORK — ESPN is reminding employees of the network’s policy to… Continue reading

Tentative agreement averts strike by Quebec provincial park employees

MONTREAL — A full-blown strike by employees at Quebec provincial parks that… Continue reading

Most Read